A federal appeals court says a doctor in New Jersey and an anonymous New Jersey patient have no standing to sue to overturn the minimum essential coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).

Dr. Mario Criscito joined with an unnamed patient and a physicians group to try to overturn PPACA. They argued in a suit — New Jersey Physicians Inc.; Mario A. Criscito, M.D.; Patient Roe vs. President of the United States et al. — filed in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., in March 2010 that the federal government has no right to make Americans buy insurance.

A U.S. District Court judge in Newark, N.J., held that Criscito, the physicians’ group and the anonymous patient could not sue because they had not given a clear explanation of how the PPACA insurance ownership requirement had hurt them or was likely to hurt them.

A 3-judge panel at the 3rd Circuit has upheld the lower court ruling.

The PPACA minimum essential coverage provision is supposed to require many individuals to own health insurance and many employers to provide health coverage starting in 2014 or else pay penalties.

Judge Michael Chagares writes in an opinion explaining the 3rd Circuit appellate court’s ruling that, unlike the plaintiffs in some other anti-PPACA cases, Criscito and the other plaintiffs in the New Jersey Physicians case failed to give details about they have suffered as a result of the PPACA coverage ownership provision “or will suffer an actual or imminent ‘concrete and particularized injury.’”

Chagares notes that the district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint “without prejudice.”

That means the plaintiffs are free to revise their complaint to address the concerns about standing and refile it, Chagares says.

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